WTKS-FM is a radio station serving the Orlando and Central Florida areas, airing a hybrid talk radio/classic rock format. The station is owned and operated by iHeartMedia and licensed by the (U.S.) Federal Communications Commission to broadcast from Cocoa Beach, Florida (though the studio is located in Maitland, Florida). WTKS-FM's transmission tower is in Bithlo, Florida.
Most of the programs are designed to appeal to young adults. The nights and weekend programming is classic rock. Over the past six years, parent iHeartMedia has picked shows from this station to be a part of XM Radio's Extreme XM channel 152.
WTKS broadcasts an urban contemporary format, branded as "104.5 The Beat", on its HD2 subchannel, which is also simulcast on translator W283AN (104.5 FM).
104.1 FM began operations in 1962 as WRKT-FM with an automated jazz format, and was the sister station to WRKT-AM (now WKQK). The station was owned by C. Sweet Smith. In 1967, the station changed formats to progressive rock with the new calls WKPE; the station was initially automated, but eventually added more live announcers. WKPE reverted to the WRKT calls in 1977 with a Top 40 format as "Rocket 104," then shifting its format to Adult Contemporary in 1980.
Guy Gannett purchased WRKT-FM in 1981 with the intent of upgrading the 30,000-watt station to 100,000 watts from a new tower near Bithlo and serve the Orlando market. The calls were changed that year to WSSP. A beautiful music format was planned, but WSSP initially adopted a country format as "Brevard's Stereo Country 104." The country format was a temporary measure until the upgrade of the station's signal could be finalized.
The move to Bithlo was completed in 1985, and WSSP became beautiful music "WSSPer 104" ("whisper"). For a number of years, "WSSPer" was one of the most popular radio stations in Orlando, often ranking as the #1 station 12+ in the market and posting shares as high as 17% in certain dayparts. However, by the early 1990s, the station's ratings were down, and WSSP switched to a Hot AC format as WZTU, "U104.1", on May 3, 1991, in the hopes of raising ratings and revenue. "U104.1" failed miserably. Later that year, Gannett sold its radio stations in Orlando and Miami to concentrate on its television properties. WZTU was acquired by Paxson Communications Corporation, headed by Lowell "Bud" Paxson (founder of the Home Shopping Network and later PAX TV). Paxson switched WZTU to CHR as WHVE "One Hundred-Four One, The Wave" on May 29th, but despite the programming expertise of Bill Pasha of WAPE-FM in Jacksonville, ratings and revenues did not increase; the station came in 14th place in its first ratings book. "The Wave" format was dropped on August 17, 1992, after only just three months.
WHVE then changed its calls to WWNZ-FM, and began simulcasting WWNZ's talk format, though it would air a few separate shows. Paxson sold WWNZ-FM to Press Broadcasting, which also owned WKCF, in 1993. In May of that year, Press Broadcasting initiated the WTKS calls and the "Real Radio" format, which was talk shows during the week (including Howard Stern for a few years) and alternative rock on the weekend. REAL RADIO was created by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo for Press Broadcasting. The station was sold back to Paxson in 1996 and then came under the Clear Channel umbrella in 1997. On June 21, 2007, Clear Channel announced the request of transfer for their entire Orlando cluster into the Aloha Station Trust upon the consummation of the impending company buyout.
WTKS held an annual "Kicks for Guns" program in association with the Orlando Police Department where citizens could exchange guns, no questions asked, for shoes. The program made international headlines when the 2007 exchange netted a rocket launcher.
WTKS HD-2 originally aired a simulcast of WFLF, and their HD-3 subchannel aired a simulcast of WYGM. WTKS stopped simulcasting WYGM on their HD-3 subchannel on May 6, 2012, with the WYGM simulcast moving to WJRR HD-2, resulting in the demise of "Channel X". On February 12, 2014, the WFLF simulcast moved from 104.5 FM (W283AN) to 102.5 FM (W273CA) (displacing smooth jazz), and WTKS-HD2 flipped to its current urban format as "The Beat", filling the void after long-time urban station WJHM flipped to Top 40 the previous day.
The Buckethead Show with Buckethead (Jason Bailey). It originally aired from 11:00am to 3:00pm Monday thru Friday. After the show was cancelled on June 26, 2013 Bailey went to CBS O&O 92.9 The Game in Atlanta to co-host The Morning Grind with Randy Cross and Kristen Ledlow.